Here’s a few key tips to make the best stuffing but always remember to be creative – it’s how the best stuffings come to life.
The main component of stuffing is starch—potatoes, rice, or bread. Most people use bread as the main ingredient for stuffing, adding other items to suit their personal taste. If a recipe calls for dry, cubed bread, slice your bread into cubes and bake the cubes on a baking sheet on low heat for about 10 minutes. Stuffing can be very simple, or more elaborate, involving fruit, nuts, seafood, wine, sausage or vegetables. Don’t use raw, uncooked ingredients when making stuffing. Vegetables, meat, seafood, and even rice should all be cooked beforehand. If you want to save time, you can chop and cook ingredients the day before, cover and refrigerate. Then, combine the ingredients and stuff the bird right before you cook it.
You can go beyond bread and butter when it comes to stuffing. Meat stuffing, especially sausage, is quite popular, but if you are looking to spice things up a bit, try using bacon or oysters. Fruit is a great option if you want a sweeter stuffing. Use apples, raisins, cranberries currants or pears. You can also add nuts, such as macadamias, chestnuts or hazelnuts. Instead of using broth as a liquid ingredient, consider using wine or whisky (in moderation, of course).
Stuffing should be moist, not dry. Moisture is needs to help kill bacteria while cooking.
Here’s one to try:
Apple and chestnut stuffing
WHAT YOU NEED
2 large onions, finely sliced
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup pitted, quartered prunes
1/4 lb. chestnuts, roasted, peeled and chopped
bread broken into bite sized bits
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1/4 cup of brandy
1 to 1 ½ cup chicken stock
3 apples, cored, peel on, diced
1 tbsp freshly chopped thyme
1 tbsp freshly chopped sage
1 tsp freshly chopped rosemary
salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
butter, for casserole dish
WHAT TO DO
In a large skillet over high heat, melt butter until just golden brown. Add the onions and sauté on high, stirring frequently, until browned, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and sauté for a further 5 minutes until onions are very soft. Add the sliced garlic and sauté 2 more minutes. Add Calvados and 1 cup chicken stock. Cook covered, on medium heat, about 10 minutes. Add the apples and herbs and cook for a further 5 to 8 minutes or until apples are tender. Cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a casserole dish. Combine the bread, chestnuts, prunes and apple mixture in a large bowl. Season with salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper. If mixture has absorbed all the liquid, add the remaining 1/2 cup of stock.
Transfer to a buttered casserole dish. Bake covered, until lightly golden on top and hot throughout, 30 to 40 minutes.